Olea Europaea

Are you up for a difficulty that is extraordinarily rewarding? prosper olive trees!

Of course, if you’re situated in the US and also you don’t already live in specific olive-friendly parts of California, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Alabama, or Hawaii, you’ll need to move there.

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These trees require warmth summer temperatures too as around 200 hours of winter temperatures below 45°F. However nothing below around 20°F, mind you.


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At roughly 17°F, you’ll check out leaf and little stem damage, and also the tree will likely be eliminated to the ground at temperatures listed below 10°F, back mature trees may regrow indigenous the roots.

Anyway, space you worked out in your brand-new home, or already based in perfect location? Good! In this cultivation guide, we’ll learn more about this Mediterranean income that gifts its caretakers through fabulous fruit, healthful oils, and also an attractive enhancement to the landscape.

Here’s what’s spanned in this article:


How to grow Olives


We’ll share every little thing you require to recognize to thrive Olea europaea, the tree lover by ancient Greeks and also Romans, and also whose fruit has actually been popularized in the modern age by Italians, Greeks, and also Spaniards.

What You’ll See when You survey Your Orchard

Olive trees room evergreen and also can thrive to 25-30 feet tall, through a spread simply as wide. Their oblong leaves room silverish and also grow from branches emanating from a gnarled, twisted trunk.

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Some experts think that more space between trees – about 16-20 feet – will certainly yield far better fruit production. If this isn’t valuable for your brand-new parcel that land, consider a dwarf variety, i m sorry we’ll discuss in a bit.

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Mind you, if an expansive orchard isn’t at every what you to be after, you should recognize that the olive renders a good specimen tree that you can plant and also enjoy merely for the beauty, through nary a assumed to harvest and curing and pressing and also whatnot.


Which type Is ideal for You? (And where to Buy)

The type of tree you pick will rely on what you hope to acquire out of it. Various cultivars create different spices of olives and oil, of course.

You can sample assorted oils in ~ a farmer market, for example, to pick a range that appeals come you.

‘Mission’ is a variety well-suited to home gardeners who wish to press or cure your harvest. Bob Wells Nursery provides this variety, and also it’s available via Amazon.

2-Year ‘Mission’ Trees

The tree they’ll ship to friend is two years old.

If you have the patience the Job and also don’t mind beginning out small, think about this petite ‘Manzanillo’ plant, available native Wellspring Gardens via Amazon.

‘Manzanillo’ O. Europaea Live Plant

They’ll delivery you a three- to eight-inch seedling in a three-inch pot, in addition to a fertilizer sample. At maturity, it will certainly reach 30-40 feet through large, great-tasting fruit the are likewise excellent for producing oil.

‘Arbosana’ is a cultivar that is suitable for smaller spaces, farming to it is in 12-15 feet tall with a spread out of 12-20 feet. You can find this kind at Nature Hills Nursery.

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‘Arbosana’ in #1 Container

This Spanish native produces huge crops of small fruit with a high oil contents that are really flavorful. You’ll obtain a tree in a 2.3- to 3.7-quart container.

If you’d choose the beauty of one olive tree there is no the problem of the fruit, consider ‘Wilsonii,’ a fruitless selection available from High Desert Nursery via Amazon.

Fruitless ‘Wilsonii’ Live Rooted Plant

You’ll receive a 16- come 20-inch tree, or numerous if you want to take advantage of one of their package deals.

Most cultivars room self-pollinating, despite some space not. Furthermore, some self-pollinating varieties produce heavier yields when a pollinator – such as ‘Pendolino,’ ‘Maurino,’ or ‘Leccino’ – is cultivation nearby.


No Additives, Please

As we pointed out above, O. Europaea is native to regions that have mild, merganser winters and hot, dried summers.

You’ll want to ar your trees whereby they’ll get complete sun all day.

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These trees are tolerant that a wide variety of soils, consisting of those with somewhat high clay content, as lengthy as over there is an excellent drainage.

Planting a young tree in the autumn gives the a possibility to become well-established. However this is an option only if temperature in her area won’t drop listed below 30°F, or if girlfriend can safeguard the tree.

This is because container-grown trees are susceptible to frost damage during their an initial winter outdoors.

If waiting until spring seems an ext prudent, organize off till all peril of frost is past. Planting in the warmth of summer is not recommended.

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Dig a hole about the exact same size as the container, and about an inch shallower. Water the tree thoroughly, eliminate it indigenous its container, and untwist or cut any type of circling roots.

Set the root round in the hole. Usage soil you removed from the hole to construct up around an inch of floor on peak of the source ball, and also grade down from the trunk to the surrounding soil.

Don’t include compost or other soil additives; the plant has to learn come love the aboriginal soil. But do top the planting area v mulch.

Prune for more Fruit

Water young trees 2 or 3 times a week during their first summer. Offer them a great four customs of water at each watering, and hydrate again as soon as the floor dries out.

Once established, castle need little supplemental water.

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Keep weeds removed from in ~ at least a three-foot diameter that the young tree.

Fertilize newly planted trees in the spring, after new growth begins. Lock only need a small amount that nitrogen, which have the right to be delivered via compost, and conventional or essential fertilizers.

In its very first four years, prune the tree just as needed to preserve its shape.

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As her tree matures and begins fruiting, you’ll discover an olive oddity: they never ever bear fruit in the same place on a stem, so new growth each year is necessary for flower production and fruiting.

Starting in the fifth year of growth, you’ll desire to prune not just to boost airflow and maintain height or form, but additionally with future fruiting demands in mind.

A Bit an ext on Fruitlessness

If you’d quite not have actually an established tree collection fruit, you can use a plant growth regulator, or use a strong spray native the hose come blast off blooms.

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Some gardeners execute this just to areas of a tree that overhang a led area, in an attempt to alleviate the chaos from fall fruit.

But, since Mother Nature is persistent and these methods don’t constantly work, if fruitlessness is truly your goal, you might be far better off to buy a fruitless range such together the one explained above.


Pests and Disease

Olives aren’t plagued by many pests, back scale can be a problem.

You have the right to prune turn off infected stems, or treat these greedy critters through neem oil, such together this one from Bonide, available native Arbico Organics.

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Bonide Neem Oil

This 32-ounce spray bottle is ready to use.

For twenty years or so, California olive growers have been plagued by the olive fruit fly, i beg your pardon lays its eggs inside the developing fruit, destroying it.

Management the fruit paris is difficult, and best achieved via clean gardening practices. Some house gardeners have had luck v fly traps, such as these from Terro, available via Amazon.

TERRO Fruit Fly trap (Pack of 3)

Trees can likewise be impacted by olive anthracnose, a fungal disease. Act this trouble with a fungicide, such together this one indigenous Garden Safe, available with Amazon.

Garden for sure Fungicide3 Concentrate

This 28-ounce container connects to her hose end for easy circulation of the focused product.


Young and Bitter

If you’ve provided your olive tree through a happy home, the will start to be affected by each other fruit when it’s around five year old.

Bear in mind, however, the it’s perfectly normal for olive trees to produce fruit just every various other year, or come produce alternate heavy and light plants from year come year.

When friend harvest her olives counts on what you intended to do with them, and what flavor girlfriend seek.

All olives begin out environment-friendly before turning a purplish color, and then deepening come black. The younger the olive, the much more bitter it will certainly be.

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Typically, olives space harvested at their environment-friendly stage if their intended use is because that the table, back some varieties are best when black.

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If a pressing is in the cards, the fruit is at its oiliest once it’s in its purple stage.

Olives should be handle – more on this in just a minute – within 3 days the harvest.

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You have the right to either handpick the fruit from her tree, i beg your pardon is rather time-consuming, or you have the right to place a tarp under the tree, and also shake the limbs v a rake or other garden implement come dislodge the fruit onto to the tarp for straightforward pickup.

Preparing her Olives

Raw olives room not tasty. They have to be cured to dispel their innate bitterness, i beg your pardon is resulted in by the chemical compound referred to as “oleuropein.”

Inventive humans have arisen a number of ways come banish the bitterness from these otherwise tasty small ovals, curing castle in oil, water, brine, lye, or simply salt.

None that these techniques is an especially difficult, however the olives do need to marinate in your preferred mixture for numerous weeks – so don’t arrangement for an appetizer spread finish with homemade tapenade immediately after harvest!

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If it’s oil you’re after, you’ll uncover as countless extraction methods as there space days in a month.

At its many basic, the process entails:

CleaningMashingSqueezing the mash come extract juiceSeparating the oil from non-oil liquid and also particulate matter

It have the right to take all over from 40-90 pounds of drupes to make one gallon the oil. A maturation tree will produce in between 30-100 pounds every season, despite the gigantic ‘Chemlali’ may create close to a ton per year.

Recipes and Cooking Ideas

You’ve planted, harvested, brined, and pressed. It’s time come savor the fruit of your labor! us don’t need to tell you that a galaxy the recipes await the olive-laden, but we’ll share just a few to obtain you started.

Begin your meal through a standard Greek salad like this one, from our sister site, Foodal. Made with homegrown cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, basil, oregano, and also parsley, this is important a garden-fresh delight!

For removing those pits, explore Foodal’s guide to the finest cherry and olive pitters.

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If you’re trying to find picnic fare or a irradiate meal, shot a Sicilian pasta salad through zucchini, environment-friendly beans, and also marinated artichokes. You’ll find the recipe for this one on Foodal together well.

From Vintage Kitty comes this exciting recipe because that an asparagus salad, which attributes a lemon and also light olive oil vinaigrette.

And when we’re on the subject of lemon-olive pairings, consider this chicken recipe from sugar Love Spices. This rustic pleasure evokes the Italian countryside.

And because that dessert, how around a citrus olive oil cake, likewise from sugar Love Spices? This confection makes use of a complete cup of extra virgin oil, and also a variety of citrus juices.

Quick Reference farming Guide


tree Type: Small, evergreen tree or shrub Attracts: Bees and other pollinators
indigenous To: Mediterranean, Asia, and also Africa Tolerance: dryness
stiffness (USDA Zone): 8-11 Maintenance: low
Season: fruits ripen are all set from August v November depending on cultivar, preferred ripeness, and location floor Type: various loamy soils including sandy loam, clay loam, silt loam, and silty clay loam
Esposure: complete sun soil pH: 7-8
Time come Maturity: 3-12 years depending upon cultivar; most approximately years 5-6 floor Drainage: Well-draining
Spacing: Minimum that 12 feet in between trees in an orchard environment; 6 feet because that hedge kind planting Companion Planting: various other Mediterranean plants consisting of thyme, lavender, oregano, miscellaneous grasses, and also bulbs
Planting Depth: same as nursery pot, or collection crown of bare root share just listed below the soil surface. Family: Oleaceae
Height: 25-30 feet tall at maturity Genus: Olea
Water Needs: Moderate; generally irrigated in commercial plantings Species: Olea europaea
Pests & Diseases: Fruit flies, aphids, olive moth, and black scale

The best Setting, The right Tree

So, what space you thinking? Is that time to include an olive tree to fill that empty spot in the backyard?

Pick the variety that fits, water it greatly until it’s established, watch out for olive fruit flies, and also soon you’ll it is in sharing her homegrown olive products with friends and family.

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Do you have actually an olive tree? i m sorry variety? tell us about your adventures v O. Europaea in the comments section below.

And if you decision a various fruit tree the the pitted range is in her landscape plans, read these travel guide next:


Product photos via Bob Wells Nursery, Wellspring Gardens, Nature Hills Nursery, High Desert Nursery, Bonide, Terro, and also Garden Safe. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. First published July 9th, 2018. Critical updated may 3rd, 2020.

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About Gretchen Heber

A previous garden editor because that a day-to-day newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too countless pruners and also garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and also gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has actually a freeze cold sufficient to death them. Come Gretchen, nothing is more financially rewarding than a rapid dash to the garden come pluck herbs to season the night meal. And it’s definitely time because that a happy dance once she’s able come beat the 설 설 to the peaches, figs, or loquats.